Lord Caitanya

Understanding His position in the light of scripture 
and the teachings of previous spiritual masters.

A lecture given in Mayapur, West Bengal, on March 2, 1974

Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness

jaya jaya mahaprabhu sri-krsna-caitanya
tanhara caranasrita sei bada dhanya

"Let me offer glorification to the Supreme Lord, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. One who has taken shelter of His lotus feet is the most glorified person." (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 7.2)

Sri Krsna Caitanya is Sri Krsna. Srila Rupa Gosvami spoke this verse:

namo maha-vadanyaya
krsna-prema-pradaya te
krsnaya krsna-caitanya-
namne gaura-tvise namah

"O most munificent incarnation! You are Krsna Himself appearing as Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu. You have assumed the golden color of Srimati Radharani [Lord Krsna's internal energy], and You are widely distributing pure love of Krsna. We offer our respectful obeisances unto You."

Lord Caitanya is Krsna Himself. In this age, known as Kali-yuga, Krsna's direct incarnation is Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. This is also confirmed throughout the Vedic literature Mahabharata, Puranas, Upanisads. The essence of all Vedic literature is the Srimad-Bhagavatam, and there also Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is accepted as the Supreme Lord:

krsna-varnam tvisakrsnam
yajnair sankirtana-prayair
yajanti hi su-medhasah

The Srimad-Bhagavatam says that in the Kali-yuga the incarnation of Krsna has a bodily complexion that is akrsna, "not krsna." The Sanskrit word krsna means "black." In the sastra, the scriptures, it is said that Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, appears in the four yugas, or ages, in four different colors:

asan varnas trayo hy asya
grhnato 'nuyugam tanuh
suklo raktas tatha pitah 
idanim krsnatam gatah

"Your son Krsna appears as an incarnation in every millennium. In the past He assumed three colors white, red, and yellow and now He has appeared in a blackish color." This verse was spoken by the learned brahmana Gargamuni during Krsna's name-giving ceremony. In the Vedic culture, as soon as a child is born his horoscope is made and his past and future are calculated. Today, because of poverty and other reasons, practically no one does this. But this is one of the samskaras, or purifying rituals for human life. At conception there is the garbhadhana samskara, while the child is within the womb there is a samskara, and so on. In this way a human body is purified by ten kinds of samskaras, or purificatory methods.

It is said, janmana jayate sudrah samskarad bhaved dvija: "Everyone is born a sudra, a member of the unpurified caste, but by samskara one becomes twice-born, or a brahmana."

Everyone is born from a father and a mother. Even cats and dogs have a father and a mother. Any life you get, there is a father and a mother. Therefore the Prema-vivarta says:

janame janame sabe pita-mata paya
krsna guru nahi mile bhaja hari ei

"In every birth you'll get a father and a mother. But in every birth you cannot get Krsna or a bona fide spiritual master." The perfection of human life is possible by the mercy of guru and Krsna. And that mercy can be achieved in the human form of life, not in the life of cats and dogs.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is acting as both guru and Krsna, or as the combination of the two. Kaviraja Gosvami, the author of Caitanya-caritamrta, first offered his obeisances to Lord Caitanya in the first verse of this chapter (agaty-eka-gatim natva …). After offering obeisances to the Supreme Lord, "the only hope for the hopeless," now the author is again offering obeisances with the second verse:jaya jaya mahaprabhu sri-krsna-caitanya.

Prabhu and Mahaprabhu

Nityananda Prabhu, Advaita Prabhu any Vaisnava, or devotee of the Lord, is addressed as prabhu ("Lord" or "master"). But Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Mahaprabhu, the "topmost prabhu, the master prabhu." All others are servant prabhus. For example, if you work in an office, you may consider your immediate boss your master, but he's not the master. The managing director or the proprietor is master of the office. But, still, those who work under him "sub-prabhus" are also called prabhu.

All Vaisnavas should be addressed as "Prabhu." That is the etiquette. But Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Mahaprabhu because He's the greatest master.

ekale isvara krsna ara saba bhrtya
yare yaiche nacaya, se taiche kare nrtya

"Lord Krsna alone is the supreme controller, and all others are His servants. They dance as He makes them do so." We are simply dancing in the material world, trying to be the master. Everyone is trying. Everyone wants to exploit the resources of the material nature, to become the master. That is the struggle for existence. I am trying to become the master, and you are trying to become the master, so there is a clash. I challenge you, "Why should you be the master?" And you challenge why I should be the master. That is going on. That is the nature of the material world. But if we accept that we are eternal servants and not the master, and that the master is Krsna or Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu, then our problems are solved.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has sung, jiv krsna dasa ei visvas korle to ar duhkha nai: "If you just understand that the spirit soul is the eternal servant of Krsna, you will never have any more sorrows." That is the solution.

Everyone wants to become the master, the prabhu. You can become prabhu. That is not extraordinary. Some way or other we are prabhus. Suppose I am a family man. I am managing my family, my wife, my children, my servants, my subordinates, so I may be prabhu. In that sense I am a small prabhu. Similarly, everyone is prabhu. But there is the supreme prabhu, the prabhu of all prabhus. That Mahaprabhu is Sri Krsna Caitanya. He's Krsna.

As it is stated in the Brahma-samhita: isvarah paramah krsnah. isvara means "ruler" or "controller." All of us are more or less little controllers or rulers, but not the absolute ruler. The absolute ruler is Krsna. Similarly, the absolute prabhu, master, is Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Taking Shelter of Mahaprabhu

Tanhara caranasrita: Everyone is prabhu, but when the prabhu takes shelter of the lotus feet of the Mahaprabhu, sei bada dhanya the prabhu becomes glorified. Don't remain satisfied being aprabhu of your wife, children, family, country, or this or that, but try to become the servant of Mahaprabhu. Tanhara caranasrita. When you take shelter of the supreme prabhu, Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu, then your life is successful. Sei bada dhanya: you are glorified.

To become the servant of God, or Mahaprabhu, is very prestigious. It is not very easy to become the servant of Krsna or Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu. So if one agrees to become the servant of the supreme prabhu, one's life is successful. Sei bada dhanya: he is glorified.

The Vaisnava's principle is to come to the platform of eternal servitude not to become the master, but to become servant of the master. That is perfect philosophy. Gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah. The brahmana is thinking himself the master of the ksatriya [warrior] or the vaisya [merchant] or the sudra [laborer]. The sannyasi [renunciant] is thinking himself the master of thevanaprastha [retired person], the grhastha [householder], or the brahmacari [celibate student]. Similarly, the head of the household is thinking himself the master, and the ksatriya king is thinking he's the master. You are a master to some extent, but if you accept Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu or Sri Krsna as your master, your life is successful. That is the secret of success, as confirmed in the Srimad-Bhagavatam:

atah pumbhir dvija-srestha
svanusthitasya dharmasya
samsiddhir hari-tosanam

"The highest perfection one can achieve by discharging the duties prescribed for one's own occupation according to caste divisions and orders of life is to please the Personality of Godhead."

Arjuna was a ksatriya; his business was to fight. Why was he fighting the Battle of Kuruksetra? To become the master of the kingdom. But he stayed eternally the servant of Krsna. That is success. Don't be satisfied simply to be the master of your material position. Try to become the servant of the supreme; then you are successful.

Our mastership is relative; under certain conditions we become the master. But Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the master without any conditions. Namo maha-vadanyaya krsna-prema-pradaya te.Because He's the master, He can distribute Krsna-prema, love of Krsna, very easily. Otherwise, Krsna-prema is very difficult to attain. Even understanding Krsna is very difficult.

manusyanam sahasresu
kascid yayati siddhaye
yatatam api siddhanam
kascin mam vetti tattvatah

Out of many millions of persons, one may try to make his life successful, and out of many such persons who have become successful in understanding their constitutional position, one may understand Krsna. One may understand; there is no surety. To understand Krsna is a very, very difficult job.

brahma-bhutah prasannatma
na socati na kanksati
samah sarvesu bhutesu
mad-bhaktim labhate param

To understand Krsna and to understand the service of Krsna is very exalted. One has to become brahma-bhutah, completely liberated. Then one can understand how to render service to Krsna,mad-bhaktim labhate param. But this difficult subject matter is given very easily by Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Therefore Rupa Gosvami offered his first prayer to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu:

namo maha-vadanyaya
krsna-prema-pradaya te
krsnaya krsna-caitanya-
namne gaura-tvise namah

"You are not only giving Krsna, but You are giving Krsna-prema, love of Krsna." You may meet an exalted per-son, but to have an intimate, loving relationship with an exalted person is not very easy. But Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu distributed love of Krsna to anyone. That is Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu's contribution to human society. If you simply come under the lotus feet of Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu, then love of Krsna is very easily achieved. To come under the lotus feet of Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu means you have Krsna. That is the verdict of the scripture and Caitanya-caritamrta. Krsna, Caitanya Maha- prabhu, does not give anything else. He directly gives you Krsna and love of Krsna.

Glorious Navadvipa

To award this greatest benediction to human society, Caitanya Mahaprabhu took sannyasa, the renounced order of life, at the age of twenty-four in this land of Mayapur, Navadvipa. It is a very glorified place. It is not an ordinary place. The Vaisnava devotee and poet Narottama Dasa Thakura says, gauda mandala bhumi, yeba jane cintamani tara hoy vrajabhume vasa. "Anyone who understands the spiritual value of Navadvipa lives in Vrajabhumi, Vrndavana Lord Krsna's land." There is no difference between Vrndavana and Navadvipa, or Gauda-mandala-bhumi. That is the verdict of the sastra.

Read Narottama Dasa Thakura's Prarthana and Bhaktivinoda Thakura's Prarthana. They are very, very valuable for advancement in spiritual understanding especially Narottama Dasa Thakura'sPrarthana. By reading them, by understanding them, we can understand Krsna very easily. Otherwise, it -is very, very difficult to understand Krsna. Big, big scholars, big, big sannyasis they cannot understand Krsna. They think Krsna is like us a very great man, a politician, a historical person. Or they think of Krsna as a debauchee because He associated with the gopis, the cowherd girls, or because He married sixteen thousand wives.

We shall be misled in understanding Krsna if we try to do so by our own knowledge. We have to accept Krsna through Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. And Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu advises everyone:

amara ajnaya guru hana tara' ei desa
yare dekha tare kaha 'krsna'-upadesa

"Instruct everyone to follow the orders of Lord Sri Krsna as they are given in the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. In this way become a spiritual master and try to liberate everyone in this land." Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Krsna Himself. Because Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came as a human being, people have misunderstood Him to be a human being. But He's not human being; He's the master of the human beings.

Because we are part and parcel of Krsna, Krsna very kindly comes when we are distressed because of violating the laws of religion. Yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati. Dharmasya glanimeans "deviation from the path of religion." And what is religion? Dharmam tu saksad bhagavat-pranitam. Religion means the laws of God. That is the simple definition of religion. The rules and regulations given by the Lord are called religion, just as the rules and regulations given by the state are called law. You cannot manufacture law. Similarly, you cannot manufacture dharma. Nowadays, in this Kali-yuga, rascals manufacture religion. But who cares for that religion? Or what will be the benefit of such religion? There will be no benefit.

Today, so-called religious leaders even claim to be God. But Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu never manufactured religion, and to set the example He never said, "I am Krsna." Rather, when He was in Vrndavana some of the devotees praised Him: "You are Krsna." He blocked His ears: "No, no. Don't say that," indicating that to claim to become God or Krsna is the highest type of rascaldom.

Some Mayavadis, or impersonalists, claim, "Everyone is God. I am God, you are God." They are all rascals. We do not accept such cheap "Gods." No. We accept Krsna. And we accept Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu as God on the authority of sastra and the acaryas, our predecessor spiritual masters. We follow in the footsteps of the acaryas. Rupa Gosvami says, krsnaya krsna-caitanya-namne: "Sir, You are Krsna. You have come under the name of Krsna Caitanya. You are so magnanimous that You are distributing love of Krsna."

Without being Krsna, how can one distribute Krsna? Without being a millionaire, how can one distribute millions of dollars? Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu is so magnanimous that He is distributing Krsna. So take shelter of Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

You have come from distant places. You have spent much money to come here. Take advantage of this journey and chant sri-krsna-caitanya prabhu-nityananda sri-advaita gadadhara srivasadi-gaura-bhakta-vrnda. Then you'll get Krsna, surely. This land is Caitanya Mahaprabhu's birthplace. Anyone who takes shelter of Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu is glorified.

Thank you very much.